Could Nadarev Sano Change the World?
I have only ever attended on UNFCCC summit – in 2009 when I travelled by train to Copenhagen to protest and push for action. The experience and the outcome were disappointing, demoralising and made me vow never to attend again. Since then I have never felt I was missing out. Until now.
John Vidal of the Guardian has reported an extraordinary moment in the main chamber in Doha today. A senior Filipino delegate, Nadarev Sano, exasperated by the slow progress at the talks, reminded delegates of the real reason for these conferences in an emotional plea for action. The reported text of his speech is below. 2012 has been a devastating year of weather across the globe. Typhoon Bopha is the latest dreadful example of the way in which weather events are becoming more deadly. But could this disaster and the speech from Sano be a pivotal moment for the world’s commitment to combat climate change?
“As we sit here in these negotiations, even as we vacillate and procrastinate here, the death toll is rising. There is massive and widespread devastation. Hundreds of thousands of people have been rendered without homes. And the ordeal is far from over, as typhoon Bopha has regained some strength as it approaches another populated area in the western part of the Philippines.
“Madam chair, we have never had a typhoon like Bopha, which has wreaked havoc in a part of the country that has never seen a storm like this in half a century. And heartbreaking tragedies like this are not unique to the Philippines, because the whole world, especially developing countries struggling to address poverty and achieve social and human development, confront these same realities.
“Madam chair, I speak on behalf of 100 million Filipinos, a quarter of a million of whom are eeking out a living working here in Qatar [as migrant labourers]. And I am making an urgent appeal, not as a negotiator, not as a leader of my delegation, but as a Filipino …”
At this point he broke down.
“I appeal to the whole world, I appeal to leaders from all over the world, to open our eyes to the stark reality that we face. I appeal to ministers. The outcome of our work is not about what our political masters want. It is about what is demanded of us by 7 billion people.
“I appeal to all, please, no more delays, no more excuses. Please, let Doha be remembered as the place where we found the political will to turn things around. Please, let 2012 be remembered as the year the world found the courage to find the will to take responsibility for the future we want. I ask of all of us here, if not us, then who? If not now, then when? If not here, then where?”
“Thank you madam chair.”
The hall rose and applauded.